The PS Vita has been out for about two years and still many gamers are opting to sit out on Sony’s latest handheld. According to VGchartz.com, the PS Vita has sold 6,984,639 total units globally since its’ release, which when broken down is approximately 300,000 units a month (a little less in reality). That’s really pretty bad sales wise, especially when you look at the 3DS numbers (also from VGchartz); the 3DS has sold 41,542,115 globally to date, which is damn near five times the amount of PS Vitas, and the 3DS has only been out one year longer.
With all this evidence it’s apparent to most gamers that the PS Vita is dead. I am here to say those gamers are completely and totally wrong. It’s my humble opinion that while the Vita has been selling slow, it’s far from dead. There is too much evidence that suggests that 2014 may very well be the Year of the Vita, and NOT the year it gets buried, as many believe.
Let us first take a look at the games scheduled for release in 2014. I can list all of them here, but that would be a very long list, so you can just check out the list I used here if you prefer(link to http://www.ign.com/games/upcoming/vita?sortBy=releaseDate&sortOrder=asc&filter=latest). Instead I am only going to focus on a couple of the “high profile” games coming in 2014. I will also be talking about some games announced for the Vita that have yet to receive a concrete release date.
The HD re-release of Final Fantasy X/X-2 is coming in March. Now I know some of you are going to say ‘old game is old’, but look at it this way – many of today’s younger gamers (between the ages of 14 & 17) were stupid young back when this game first came out (between 1 & 4). I doubt that many of those gamers ever got to experience this game in all its’ glory, and it being available on the Vita will finally give those gamers a chance to experience it with updated graphics. Yes, this HD release will also be available on the PS3, but giving players the chance to take a 50+ hour RPG with them on the go makes it a more appealing experience to many. A good example of how well this game could do on the Vita can be seen by looking at the wild success of Persona 4 Golden, another PS2 RPG that was rereleased on the Vita and has sold extremely well.
Borderlands 2, the wildly successful FPS/RPG from 2012 is coming to the PS Vita, and according to many sites it will be here at some point in 2014. Borderlands 2 could be the game to really increase the sale of the Vita. The reason for this is due to the focus on cooperative play encouraged by Borderlands. This focus on co-op, paired with some fun and addictive gameplay, leaves you with a recipe for a wildly successful handheld game. There is an even greater chance for this to be the “must have” Vita game if the companies involved decide to include all the DLC already released, as well as add some sort of cross-platform play.
The last game I want to discuss is Minecraft, which is also scheduled to be released some time in March. Minecraft is a huge game and has sold literally tens of millions of copies collectively. Already available on the go for both iOS devices as well as Android devices, Minecraft will be 10x better on the Vita thanks to it having actual buttons. There are many people out there that would rather have a tactile feedback when playing Minecraft rather than the touch screen controls currently available for Minecraft on the go. It is my humble opinion that Minecraft may not move many consoles at first, but after a few people share the experience with others, Vitas will be flying off the shelf.
The second reason I feel the Vita is far from dead is the recent surge of Vita sales since the release of the PS4. According to many of the top game charts’ sites, since the PS4 release the Vita has seen an increase of about 65% when it comes to sales. This is HUGE. Lets see why the PS4 is helping the Vita sell.
More people are now subscribing to PS+, thus giving them a whole library of PS Vita games. So many consumers only need to spend the combined price of the Vita system and memory card to get some of the best titles the Vita has to offer, for free. These games include the immensely popular Uncharted: Golden Abyss as well as Gravity Rush, Oddworld Stranger’s Wrath HD, Sonic All-Star Racing: Transformed, Wipeout and (new for this month) Urban Trials Freestyle. Thats a bunch of really good games that players won’t want to feel like they are wasting by not downloading them, especially when paying for PS+.
Another reason PS4 is pushing Vita sales is the remote play feature of the PS4. As long as your PS4 at home is on and connected to the internet, it’s possible to play your PS4 games on your Vita remotely, thus making the Vita a portable PS4. While I haven’t had a chance to experience this myself, people who have used it have told me it works quite well. In all honesty, if I could leave my PS4 on and play my games while I was at work, or while at my fiance’s parent’s house, I would most certainly be purchasing a Vita, and it’s not just me – many gamers are taking advantage of this. Even without the games on the PS Vita, the remote play feature is giving it a greater lifespan in the long run.
The outlook for the PS Vita has looked quite grim since it was released, with many already feeling like the system is spent as the Nintendo 3DS currently dances on its’ cold dead corpse. Yet thanks to some highly anticipated games, a surge of new PlayStation gamers, and the ability to turn your PS4 portable with a Vita, it looks like 2014 may very well be the Year of the Vita, as I said before. We’ve already seen a spike in sales in the past four months, and most likely that trend will continue to increase in the following months. If you are one of those gamers saying the Vita is dead, you are grossly misinformed. I definitely wouldn’t count it out just yet.
(Update: Since the completion of this article Sony announced the PlayStation Now streaming service. The service will allow gamers to stream PlayStations back catalog of games directly from Sony to the PS4 and PS Vita. This is great news for the Vita. Now gamers who want to experience all the great games Sony’s consoles have to offer will be able to without the need to purchase a $500 dollar PS4 but can instead get the Vita for much cheaper and be able to play games like The Last of Us and Uncharted, If this doesn’t help the Vita sell ten fold I honestly don’t know what will.)